Hebrews 9:27

I really like the quiet moments in the morning when you first wake up, the early moments of transition between the night and the day. Those first moments can be a great time of quiet, to listen to the Lord. The other morning a verse that came to mind in my morning reflection was “As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” I thought, “Lord, does this mean You are going to come and take me soon?” He said, “No. It is merely helpful to reflect on this for a while.”

Upon that reflection, three points came to mind.

1) “As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” A point that comes to mind is responsibility. We are each given the blessing of life, the challenge of life, and the responsibility to see what we will do with that life given to us. Throughout our lives, there are many opportunities, choices, circumstances, conditions and situations that arise — and we are given these potentially for a variety of reasons, one being to see what choices we will make, and how we will use what we are given, and how we traverse this life with our individual skill sets, particular circumstances, conditions, talents and abilities — and possibly liabilities — to add value to this world, to ourselves, and to others. Built into this responsibility, also, seems to be an assessment at the end of a specified time period or time frame. This specific time period is not clearly outlined to us… but it IS clearly outlined to us that there will indeed be an assessment given at the end of a time period; unaware of our individual time frames as we may be. It pays to be aware of and observe how we choose to use our time, gifts, talents, circumstances, conditions, situations, power, and spirit that we are given to be an encouragement, blessing, inspiration, and a wise investment.

2) It’s pointed out that we each have an ‘appointment’ — one that we can’t cancel. It may seem at times it is one that we can put off till a later date, however the appointment will have an expiration date, a valid time for it to be fulfilled. There were only ever two reported cases where individual appointments were ‘canceled’. Those two individuals were Elijah and Enoch. They were both given special exemptions by God where they did not experience death as we know it. There is a theory that the two witnesses in Rev. 11 may be referring to Elijah and Enoch — and if so, that would bring about the Bible verse as being fulfilled — however that is a theory, and we don’t know for sure. Regardless, the appointment is there for each of us, and it’s made clear that we each have that appointment awaiting us. It’s appointed to men once to die, the first death, being a physical death, leading to the 3rd point.

3) A choice is involved to take up an offer given to us. Jesus talks to Nicodemus in John chapter 3 about a new birth. He said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, indicating that there is a first and second birth. (See John 3:1-10) There is a distinct difference between the physical birth and a spiritual birth. Couple that with information in Revelation (perhaps Revelation 19 and 20) and it seems to indicate that those who take up an offer given to us have an alternative. It’s alternatively summed up in this motto: It’s been said that if you are born twice, you die once; if you’re born once, you die twice. With the references here, everyone is scheduled to die once — to experience a physical death in transition to the next life. To die twice is however NOT appointed to each of us, and depends on a choice that can be made. With receiving Christ, we experience our physical death, and pass on to the next phase, where we will be with Christ and experience the next phase of our existence with Christ. However, if we are born only once, we’ve got to die twice — one death on the physical plane, and then we have got to experience taking on the effects of all our bad choices, decisions, sins, and failures in this life, and pay the price for those on our own as a consequence (this is the second death referenced in Revelation 19 and 20) . Thinking of these things is interesting, as we do have a choice to make, and that choice is for each of us to make upon thought and consideration, as it is a choice that will greatly affect the course of our lives both in this life and the next. Our life and time spent on Earth, though short, is very important, as the choices we make here affect us well into eternity. God makes it clear in this verse that the first death is destined for each of us; the second death, however, hinges entirely on our choice to receive Jesus as our Savior. What choice will you make?